The Beauty of Being Board Certified

When is the last time you took a haircolor class and learned about more than a product line? The lack of “pure” education is a common colorist complaint, but the American Board of Certified Haircolorists (ABCH) has long offered brand-neutral education plus credible, standardized certification. That’s just one of the reasons I’m a raving fan!

I first learned about getting certified 19 years ago from fellow ABCH member Lisa Kelley. She was my Director of Education at a local distributorship—today she owns her own distributor called Coastline Enterprise and we both teach there. Getting certified took a lot of studying, but I passed on the first try and the payoff was almost instant. Once my clients heard the news, my referrals skyrocketed even though I was doing the same work I always had.

Over the years, my love for the ABCH has grown in part because Andre Nizetich, the ABCH’s president, is pro stylist all the way. And he tests a wide range of products to give us the real skinny on whether or not they actually do what they claim. The ABCH isn’t driven by any manufacturer in any way.

Another thing I love is that once you learn to think universally, you are no longer a slave to one brand. When you understand how color chemistry works, you have more faith in yourself. You aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel because the truth about basics is that there are only so many things you can do. Too many salons are going color broke because they think they need several color lines when just one can do it all.

The yearly Energizing Summit is open to everyone, including non-members, and it offers the best color-specific education that’s taught by leading colorists from all over the country. Where else can you take classes like Foil Strategy, The Secret of Color Melting, Understanding Curly Hair, The Science Behind a Perfect Haircolor, How Color Reacts to Porosity and The Marriage of Cut and Color? And those are just a few—I now teach Advanced Color Formulation at the Summit. We all donate our time to teach, and every year, it feels like coming back to a fun summer camp and seeing all your old friends again.

Lisa and I have been evaluators for several years now, mentoring and helping assess those who take the certification test, and I can share a few secrets there. For me, the hardest part was the hands-on evaluation—just get in the groove and try not to feel the pressure. Evaluators will ask questions about what you are doing, so try to answer generically without relying on a brand reference. Practice your craft, beef up your education and you’ll avoid the biggest mistakes.

Finally, the ABCH is always up to date with the latest product tests and coloring techniques. Right now, I’m helping revamp the study portfolio with new techniques like balayage and babylights. And I’m getting ready to emcee the upcoming Summit on June 24th and 25th, 2018. Everyone who cares about pure color education will be there, so what are you waiting for?


- Brenda Amaral

IG: @Brendolah